i decided to scrap the flight out of beijing after not finding decent flights to there from saigon and not making much progress with the sales agents at china southern airlines, or their awful website. plus i had found a cheap one-way ticket on American Airlines through Japan.
the new route extended my total trip time considerably, mostly because of the 8-hour layover in a little jewel of a town – narita.
taking the excellent advice from Mike Newman’s Narita Layover site, i checked my luggage straight through to L.A. from Saigon, and hopped off the plane in Narita, through a quick customs and immigration check and on a short train ride into town.
it was early, saturday morning and a few of the street-side shops were just opening up, but most of the town still seemed asleep. beautiful hills, a bright, clear sky, and cool, brisk breeze woke me up as i wandered down the quiet little main street from the train station.
i found this tiny cemetery tucked away a few blocks into my walk:
i instantly loved this town. the quaint shops and friendly owners drew me in and made me feel welcome:
then i saw the temple/park: naritasan and thought i could probably live here:
great urns burning incense:
beautiful landscaped grounds, stone walls, and architecture:
and hands down one of the cleanest places i’ve ever been in my life. seriously, there wasn’t a scrap of trash to be found anywhere. even the garbage cans were mostly clean.
the cherry blossoms were in full bloom and the whole place just put me at peace:
then again, maybe it helped that there was actually an entire ginormous structure on the grounds called the Great Pagoda of Peace:
and a beautiful park with more cherry blossoms and a waterfall:
next trip back to viet nam, i’m going to stay a couple days in japan i think.